Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The more you know...

I found a picture while we were packing of a rather triumphant freshman Andrew, standing on top of Y mountain, thigh-deep in snow and severely underdressed for the occasion. I'm sure if I had kept digging I would have found a picture of Beryl, who I believe undertook this ill-advised adventure with Andrew, but I didn't.

In part because I was busy, in part because I didn't want to spend the emotional energy looking for a picture of Beryl (though a picture of Beryl would complement this post quite nicely).

Beryl passed away in April after falling from Angel's Landing in Zion National Park, which was just so sad for us. But definitely more sad for Andrew, since, I mean, they were roommates. I was just the roommate's annoying girlfriend. But still, I was so sad because Beryl was so nice, so smart, and still so young with so much potential ahead of him.

When Andrew got home from his mission we went on a date and then he told me he was going to "date around" a bit, to test the water, see what was out there. And, like, fine. So, he went on a date with me and then he went on a date with Stormie (his other roommate's sister). This other roommate was so hoping that Andrew and his sister would click that he went ahead and set up another date for the two of them—a double date with him and his girlfriend! But after going out with Stormie once, Andrew had gone out with me again and said something to the effect of, "I'm finished dating around and just want to date you for a while."

And then his roommate dropped this bomb in his lap.

So Beryl—who was so painfully shy—was a good sport and stepped in at the last minute to be Stormie's date for the now-triple date. But then I think he ended up bowing out early and poor Stormie ended up being the fifth wheel on a very awkward double-and-a-half-date.

Anyway, we loved Beryl and his death kind of shook us up a bit. But, Andrew went to the funeral and made his peace with neglecting to get together with Beryl the past two years we were in Utah and...yeah. It is what it is.

Today my phone woke me up, buzzing on my nightstand. I was supposed to be enjoying a luxurious sleep-in after having somewhat of a nervous breakdown last night, and then being up with the baby a few times in the night. But it was 9:30 and "do not disturb" had turned off so my phone was buzzing like crazy on my night stand. I picked it up to see who was calling but no one was. It was just a series of rapid-fire texts.

The last one was from Josie: "Maybe it's cause I just woke up but I am already tearing up???"

I had no idea what she was talking about, so I wrote back: "Sorry?"

"Did you talk to Patrick?" she asked.

I hadn't. But I had a handful of unread messages from him.

"Did you get Abra's message?" was the first one.

I had not. Because I guess everyone (meaning everyone in my family, not everyone in the world) is going up to Canada—while I'm stuck down here, a billion miles from home, with cicadas and katydids cackling all night long (love that for me)—and she just was messaging everyone on their thread about that.

Skip over a few texts about him apparently checking to see if I was in that group and realizing that I wasn't and then spilling the news:

"Grant died in a paragliding accident. They found his body at 1:00 am. Grant Thompson, in case there is confusion."


No confusion here. Grant and paragliding can only mean one Grant for me.

When I told Grant that I had gotten engaged he wasn't very happy. He was definitely more concerned more than jealous, I think, and told me that if I would call the engagement off he would fly me to Hawaii. And he was a pilot so this was no stale offer. Still, I told him thanks but no thanks; I was both confident in my choice to marry Andrew.* But he still showed up to the reception and was a very supportive friend. A friend that I, unfortunately, haven't seen much of in recent years.

But those Thompson boys aren't soon forgotten!

Dances. Movie nights. Early morning seminary. Piano lessons. Gymnastics. Hunting for slimy creatures down by the lake. Playing tag at the school playground. Skinning a badger in their garage. High school. Having their dad make me eat mealworms. Ward campouts. Swim team. New Year's all-nighters. The ward roadshow. A failed trip to Korea. Nodding to each other while out on our respective paper routes.*

It was a small town, okay? I did a lot with those brothers.

To paraphrase my friend Jocii, I'll never be able to think of 'My Thompson Boys' without feeling brokenhearted ever again.

* Not all memories applicable to Grant, but to the Thompson brothers as a unit.
** Still don't regret it. I mean, in all honesty, I probably had a crush on at least one of the Thompson boys at any given time in my youth. But they honestly would not be good matches for my personality—not a one of them! I am way too easily stressed out and would have been driven into fits of insanity by their constant shenanigans (just look up some of those King of Random videos—explosions, sky diving, and so forth...uh-uh...I couldn't handle those adrenaline junkies). I am very, extremely content with my predictable, quiet (but still quirky and hilarious) academic of a husband. Thank you very much. 

And I'm just so heartbroken for Grant's wife and children because this is my worst nightmare. The first time I experienced this weird grief (mingled with relief) was when my friend Ryan died, leaving behind my friend Katie and their sweet baby Cora. We were living in Egypt at the time and my friend Jaehee was over at our apartment when we both got the news (Ryan had gone to high school with me and I had worked with Katie at BYU (and also Jaehee and Katie had been roommates)) and we both just held each other and cried because it was so horrific. 

Aden, Jaehee's husband, was out of town doing research and she felt so uneasy about him being gone while dealing with this news. We were both so upset—upset about Ryans death, about Katie's grief (not that she'd even grieved yet; she was still unconscious (car accident)), feeling terrified just from imagining what if it had been one of us. Jaehee uttered the words, "I don't even know what I would do without Aden!"

But then we found out what she would do without Aden since he got a rare form of aggressive brain cancer and passed away soon after his diagnosis (in November of 2017). She's carrying on. I've seen pictures of her, smiling, with her siblings. She's met up with Katie (who had gone on to remarry and find new happiness).

I imagine it's not a fun club to be in, this club of young widows.

Or widowers.

My friend Vickie's sister recently passed away, leaving behind a passel of young children (and taking with her the baby in her belly). And my heart is breaking for those husband and children.

I suppose it's no fun being an older widow/er, either.

My friend Dorothy Knapp (another Cairo friend) passed away earlier this month. It's hard to think of Brother Knapp being alone as well.

And I could list others who've passed recently (I mean, there's Burt and Margaret, for starters, and, ummm, Karen), but I don't want to spiral too much.

I suppose the more people you love, the more you open yourself up to being hurt.

1 comment:

  1. I just reread your "Once I skinned a badger" post. And realized that yes, I have SEEN that badger in Thompson's house!! Did not put 2 and 2 together before!